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VB Fire Department ready to help people sick from coronavirus

Officials said they have been preparing since February to safely help sick people.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Firefighters said they are ready to help any person who believes they may have coronavirus.

Public Information Officer Art Kohn said first responders started preparing for the virus in early February, but they haven't responded to any cases of coronavirus yet.

“Whether it is police, EMS or the fire department, we are following protocols that are set forth by the Virginia Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control,” Kohn said.

Fire Department officials said they plan to release a video to every station in the city on Friday. It will go over information and tips on how to stay safe. 

Kohn said they have several plans in place, but he said the biggest thing is everyone needs to work together. 

Kohn said before heading to help the person, it’s crucial that 911 dispatchers get as much information from the person as they can to keep everyone safe.

“We are providing patient care," Kohn explained. "We want to make sure we are limiting the opportunities for any cross-contamination." 

He said equipment is already on the trucks and ready to use. 

“It’s going to be gown, gloves and a mask," he said. "They have not called, at this point, for eye shields or anything yet."

Kohn also said the way crews respond to a call could change. When helping a person who might have coronavirus, it’s possible not all firefighters trained as EMT’s will jump in to help. 

“We don’t need three people all around the bedside like we might normally have. If we can do the first patient care with one provider that’s good,” Kohn said.

If crews respond to a person who is believed to have the virus,  Kohn says all the equipment they use will go into a special bag until it can be property cleaned.

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